Treat Your MLM Business Like a Real Business: What it Means

In our industry you always hear people telling others to “treat their MLM Business like a real business!”

While I realize how important it is to do that if you want to be successful in network marketing, I also realize that most people in our industry have no idea what that really means, because they have never owned a business before.

Obviously, someone who has never owned a business before doesn’t know what to do to build a successful business (unless they are taught).  They know nothing about running, growing or managing a business.

In most cases, they are also clueless about sales, marketing, business finances and recruiting.

My goal today is to help fix that!  I want to teach the new and inexperienced distributor what “treating your MLM Business like a real business really means!”  I’m going to share some simple tips for success for you to follow.

# 1 You Have a WRITTEN Business Plan

This is without a doubt the first and most important step in the process.  All successful businesses need a formal, written business plan. No, it doesn’t need to be anything complex, but you want a one to two page business plan that talks about the following things:

Your goals – Your business plan should include your business goals.  Most businesses refer to this as their strategic objective.  At a minimum you want 90-day, one year and five year goals. Write down how many people you want to sponsor, how big you want your group to be, how much money you want to make and what title you want to be with the company.  This will give you something to shoot for.

Your marketing strategy – This is simply your primary strategy to find new customers and distributors.  All businesses have some type of marketing strategy.  Your strategy will vary based upon your goals, budget, available time, and skills.  It might include working your warm market, prospecting strangers, doing home parties, building online, leveraging social media, or any other factors.  The bottom line is to pick ONE strategy you feel comfortable with and focus on it exclusively.

Your marketing budget – All businesses need a marketing budget.  Even if you don’t plan to do advertising, you still have marketing expenses.  At a minimum, you should set aside at least $100 per month for your marketing budget.  Even if you are building belly to belly, you still need business cards, tools, support materials, and product samples.  Don’t be a cheapskate and not be willing to invest in your own business.  If money is tight, retail some products to pay for your marketing expenses.

Your unique selling proposition – This is something that VERY FEW network marketers ever think about. You have to ask yourself why people should join you.  What makes you different from everyone else in your company?  What makes you unique?  Remember that prospects don’t join companies.  They join people!  Write down what YOU have to offer and what makes you worth joining.

Your daily action plan – This is a very important part of your network marketing business plan. This outlines exactly what activities you will do every day to grow your business.  An example action plan might include: call five prospects, follow up with two people and call one team member. Your action plan will keep you focused and outline what you need to do each day.

If you get nothing else out of this entire blog post, please take the time to create your own business plan for your MLM Business.  Just use the items I mentioned above to create a template.

# 2 You Have Set Business Hours

All businesses have business hours.  One of the MAJOR reasons people fail in our industry is because they don’t work their business consistently.  They might work it an hour this week and then take the next few weeks off.

Let me ask you something.  If you did that with a regular business do you think you would make money?  The answer is NO.

You see, all businesses need set business hours.  You don’t have to work your business like a full time job, but you must set aside business hours to work it every day, even if it is just thirty minutes a day.

I suggest you get a day planner and set your business hours.  Schedule it and make it a priority in your life or your will NEVER build a successful network marketing business. Success doesn’t happen by accident.

I’ve found that most successful distributors work their business minimum 10-15 hours per week. Personally, I work my business about one to two hours per day, six days a week.  I would suggest doing that much at a minimum if you want to succeed.

# 3 You Track Your Business Finances

I wrote another post about managing your MLM Money.  You should definitely read it.  The truth is, all smart and successful business owners keep a close eye on their business finances.

At a bare bones minimum they have  a separate checking account for their business, an operating budget, a monthly profit and loss statement, and financial projections.  You should do the same thing in your network marketing business.

If you haven’t done so already, go and open a separate checking account for your business and get business checks and a business debit card.  That way you can keep your personal and business finances separate.

The next thing you should do is create a monthly operating budget for your business. Determine what you will spend on business tools, marketing and other business costs.

After you’ve done that you want to create a system you can use to track your receipts, income and expenses.  I use a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet and a drawer in my desk to stay organized.

I keep my receipts in the drawer throughout the month and then tally them up on the first of the month (for the previous month) and update my Profit and Loss statement.

The bottom line is that you need to be a good steward of your business finances at all times.

# 4 You Have Advisors

Another way to treat your MLM Business like a real business is to have trusted ADVISORS.  All smart business owners have their own trusted advisors.  This might include an accountant, insurance agent, lawyer, and business coach.

You also want a MLM Mentor.  Surround yourself with talented people who can help you move your business forward, in the right direction.  It’s money well spent.

# 5 You Invest in Your Business Education

All successful business owners invest in their business education.  What does this mean?  It means that they attend seminars, hire coaches, subscribe to industry publications, listen to audios and study everything they can about their industry.  They are always trying to learn and improve and find anything that can give them a competitive advantage.

#6 You Must Be Committed

I have never met ANY business owner outside of network marketing who would even CONSIDER quitting their business in the first year, let alone the first 90 days.

Building a successful business of any type takes a lasting commitment.  At a bare bones minimum, make a two year commitment to build your business before you decide whether to give up, move forward, or quit.  You have to give yourself a fair chance to succeed.  90 days is not enough time to do that.

I’d rather give something my all and fail, then not try and wonder what might have happened.  I can’t guarantee your success in this industry, but I do know that if you don’t “sell out” and “make a lasting commitment” you will never make it!

Final Thoughts

There you have it folks.  These are six tips on how to treat your MLM Business like a real business.  I would love to know what you think.

What tips could you offer to develop a business mindset and be more successful in your MLM Business?  Leave a comment below to share your thoughts.  I look forward to hearing from you. Have a great day.

chuck holmes


Chuck Holmes
Network Marketing Professional (since 2002)
Author, Blogger, & Entrepreneur

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8 thoughts on “Treat Your MLM Business Like a Real Business: What it Means”

  1. As I reread this great blog post, I zoned in on the very last part…commitment. This needs to be first of all, because if you do not have a commitment, you essentially have nothing. If you are committed, you will do what you need to do to succeed. Diamond mentioned someone that did not have a business plan, and I look at this as one of two reasons; either the person is just business ignorant, or they have no commitment. I would bet it would be the second, because anyone with common sense would have some kind of business plan.

    If you treat it as a real business, success will be easier to attain.

  2. I ran into someone the other day who told me they did not have a written business plan and I was confused. That is the first rule of Business 101 or so I thought. If your goals are not written down as well as your action plan to achieve those goals, how will you succeed? As wonderful as I would like to think my brain is, I cannot remember everything. I like having a hard copy document I can refer back to, alter as I need to make changes to my plan, and use to show others who want to get involved. Without it I would truly be lost.

  3. I believe many people have the mindset that MLM is similar to going to the horse track or casino. What has happened is some network marketers have helped build that mentality instead of confronting it and explaining it the way you did here.

    If everyone treated the MLM they joined as a real business, there would be a much better attitude towards it.

    I agree that we need a business plan with goals, strategy and a budget. Time management is also quite important. If a person cannot manage their time, they cannot manage a business.

    Great post Chuck.

  4. These are six great steps to follow for running a networking marketing business like a “real business”. MLM IS real business, but I’m guessing the reason “treat MLM business like a real business” is heard so often is because so many people enter MLM for the wrong reasons and with the wrong mindset: Easy money. No effort needed. Short working hours. These are all misconceptions that make a lot of people to think that MLM isn’t real business. Those people fail. People who follow these business tips and put in real effort and real time will get REAL results.

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